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One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  382 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
John Feinstein's illuminating recollections from two decades of interviews with sports legends.

John Feinstein's career is a sports fan's dream-a lifetime of encounters with the great figures in sports, not just on the field, but in the locker room and behind the scenes with legends like Bob Knight, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and John McEnroe.
Published December 5th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
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Cheryl Gatling
It took me a while to "get" this book. Based on the title and subtitle, I expected it to be a series of interviews with famous athletes. Instead it seemed to ramble all over the place. Indeed there is a plan to this book, but it would be better described by the title, "What It's Like to Be John Feinstein: Behind the Scenes With Me As I Wrote All My Other Books." Feinstein reminisces about writing "A Season on the Brink," "Hard Courts," "A Good Walk Spoiled," "A Civil War," and many others. The l ...more
Mike Kennedy
Mar 12, 2012 Mike Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-sports
John Feinstein is the greatest author/columnist in sports, just ask him. His ego aside, he does know how to write an interesting book. The first four hundred pages revolve around the first ten books he wrote and the stories behind them. He spends a lot of time on the book that made him, "A Season on the Brink.". Having never read this book, it was really interesting to see how Knight (thank god he isn't here to choke me) ran his program and how self centered and arrogant he was. I found myself o ...more
Jan 13, 2012 Peg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game by John Feinstein. This book was provided to me free-of-charge by GoodReads, FirstReads. I never got around to marking it as "currently reading" because I read it a little at a time since it was easy to put down and then pick up again. This book has over 500 pages, so doing it that way I was able to read other material during the time span I spent on 'One on One.'

I am a sports fan but not a fanatic one. I feel that anybody who is even rem
Nov 23, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy as part of the Goodreads First Read Giveaway.

This is really a book for sports fans. Everyone else will be rather bored.

I first heard of John Feinstein when my brother asked for "Hard Courts" for his birthday. My family is obsessed with tennis and everyone plays tennis (except for me). "Hard Courts" is all about tennis and includes extensive interviews with players. It is one of my brothers all time favorite books. So, this book will be re-gifted to that person in my life
When I signed up to win this book, I had planned on giving it as a gift. That didn't work out however, so I ended up winning it and having it to myself! I was hesitant to read it, because although I watch college sports, I don't believe I'm an avid enough fan to read a 500 page book about it. But I decided to try it anyway, and I am glad I did.

This book was not filled with endless statistics, or play by plays that could have been hard for me to get through. Instead, it was a well written memoir
Jan 08, 2012 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, sports, read-2012
I found this to be a mostly enjoyable listen. Feinstein recounts his early career as a sportswriter, how he came to write Season on the Brink, and how its success led to his other books on various sports. The book needed better editing though. There were a couple of rather big errors early on and Dan Dakich's name was mispronounced throughout the audio. The narration was done by David De Vries.
David Jimenez
Mar 13, 2012 David Jimenez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One on One is a complete Walk off Grand Slam
This book, One on One, is just what it says, one on one with all of the greatest to ever play the sports. The author, John Feinstein, is arguably one of the greatest, most hard-nosed, in depth and nicest reporters of all time. The man is trusted by all in sports, and it shows in this book. He has been able to go where no other but few have gone. Most of the people who are present on the list are Presidents. To say that this man loves what he does is qu
For any true sports fan, especially any multi-sports fan, this is a must read. It is great insight into the people that make various sports what they are.

I hear the criticism from some of the others who have read the book about Feinstein's ego showing through. It has some autobiographical aspects, so I would be surprised if it didn't have some of that showing through. But his insight into some of the leading personalities is great.

I liked his 10-25 years later follow-ups, except for his follow-u
Motez Bishara
Jan 22, 2014 Motez Bishara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports-books
I'd say this one is a solid 4.5 stars. I've read a half-dozen Feinstein books over the years, starting with the classic 'A Season on the Brink' while I was still in high school. Feinstein is a terrific writer, but is, first and foremost, an outstanding reporter. There are not many reporters left who focus almost exclusively on books (Bob Woodward is another that comes to mind), and in this era of the 140 character blasts and barking heads on sports talk shows, Feinstein is true throwback.

One on
Aug 31, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feinstein is a massive name in sports writing, but I hadn't read a single one of the many books that he's written in the past 25 years. Still, as a general sports fan, this was a really interesting read. He focuses on a handful of the games that he's most passionate about - college basketball and football, and professional golf and tennis. He throws in some baseball, too. Some of the people he's interacted with are lovable, some despicable; nearly all are engaging. Even more interesting than the ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Sherman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several of John Feinstein's books, the recent being "A Season on the Brink" but this one is definitely his best so far. A nice big hardback of 500 pages I just took my time reading and enjoyed each and every interview. It's not always easy as people think to get back in locker rooms and to get that special interview no one else can manage to get. His year with Bobby Knight was a long one but you have to appreciate the coach and what he stood for. Feinstein told it just like it was, l ...more
Sandra Strange
Oct 08, 2012 Sandra Strange rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Wierdly, I really liked this book--not to say I can recommend it to my students, unfortunately, because it contains a LOT of bad language (we're talking Bobby Knight here, after all). Feinstein is a good writer, which really captivates the reader. The book is merely his story of why/how he wrote most of his blockbuster sports books, beginning with his book on Knight (he followed him and his team around for a season), continuing with his books on golf, baseball, and tennis. The characteristics th ...more
Feb 18, 2012 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read Season On the Brink and The Punch so I knew I was probably going to like this book. John Feinstein loves his job and you can tell. Yet, I was still surprised that I fell in love with it. I easily didn't know 70% of the people that John Feinstein was talking about. Athletes, coaches and sports agents??? Half the time I was googling people because I knew I had heard the name before but I couldn't remember their face. My brother told me I was an idiot for asking who was Dean Smith. Oops ...more
Nov 20, 2012 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very fun read. It is Feinstein story behind the story of his first 10 books. Since Feinstein has written about so many sports, this book gives you a 40,000 foot overview of Tennis, College Football, College Basketball and Golf. I have read most of these books so it was interesting to here how the books came about and some of the problems that he ran into when researching and writing the books. It is really a collection of many short stories and interviews he did over the years. He talk ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Christy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was hoping it would be a book that my husband and I could both read and enjoy. We both really love watching sports. We have season passes for our college football team, and will watch about 3-5 different sports games on tv in a given weekend. This book was outside of both of our normal genres. At 544 pages, it was a big time investment, which shouldn't have been a problem since we both love sports so much, but I had a hard time staying inter ...more
Sharon Storm
Mar 05, 2012 Sharon Storm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"One on One" is a wonderful collection of John Feinstein's experiences writing books about Army-Navy football, college basketball, and pro tennis and golf. His descriptions of the subjects of his books are both funny and touching, particularly the connections he made with the players that he met doing research for the Army-Navy book. His stories about getting the access he needed to write his books make you feel like you are with him every step of the way. His insights about both well-known peop ...more
Mark Edlund
Jul 25, 2013 Mark Edlund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Feinstein as a writer a lot. His access to the sports he writes about is incredible. This book goes back on many of his previous books and describes how he got the "one on one" access for the subjects of his many books. He does not always like his subjects (Bob Knight) but he gets to know them and their drives intimately.
Lots of Canadian references - Calgary and Montreal hockey; movie made in Winnipeg; Ben Johnson race; Czeck in Canadian embassy; Pat Gillick as the Blue Jays GM; Nicholas
I have not read any of Mr. Feinstein's previous books but I am familiar with him and his love of almost every sport. Like many of those who also read the book, I got a bit tired of stories about himself but I suppose that was the premise of the book--the stories behind the stories his books are about, if that makes any sense. He describes many of his conversations that led to his book subjects which I found interesting. He is definitely a great journalist in that he is not afraid to go after the ...more
Tom Gase
Jan 06, 2012 Tom Gase rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book by John Feinstein, but you should only read if you're a big fan of the legendary sports writer of great books such as Season on the Brink, A Civil War, A Good Walk Spoiled and The Punch. This book is basically Feinstein's look back at his first 10 books ( talking about the Punch sadly). Feinstein goes into great detail on what it was like to write Season on the Brink with Bobby Knight and his other books. I especially like the last 100 pages where he does a "Where are they Now ...more
Matthew Frets
Feb 05, 2012 Matthew Frets rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall grade: B+

This was one of the more compelling reads in a while for me. I've been a Feinstein fan for quite a while and was surprised to find this on the library shelf a month after being released. Feinstein details the stories behind his various releases, and they are all entertaining and make for a quick read. There were a few things that could have been altered- a few too many stories about trying to get through various sports' securities, and a comment about David Justice not being a s
May 11, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Feinstein will recognize many of his books in this long account of his career as a writer. Using his rocky relationship with Bobby Knight as a spine, Feinstein strings together a long series of stories from behind the scenes of his other books and tells us how several of them came be - from the weak early sales pitches to award-winning final products. Surprisingly melancholy in spots, this is a great complement to Feinstein's other books. If you're not already a fan, don't start here (I ...more
Dec 03, 2011 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received "One on One" as a Goodreads giveaway, and really enjoyed it. Feinstein has written a lot of sports books where he takes us behind the scenes to show us what things are really like for athletes and coaches. But in this book he takes us behind the scenes and shows us what it was like researching and getting to know all of his subjects. He revisits his first ten books, beginning with his breakthrough book, "A Season on the Brink", and even goes back and talks to several of his original s ...more
Daniel Nelson
Dec 25, 2013 Daniel Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Feinstein's books are well worth the read. He has a writing style that is engaging and entertaining comparable to a hot knife through butter. This book focuses on the relationships he developed and and wrote about in several different books. Topics include Bob Knight, golf, tennis, Army-Navy, college basketball, coaches, etc. The book includes Feinstein's thoughts and commentary about how his career developed, how he came up with ideas for his books, and the value of the relationships that emerg ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Sharron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I decided to read this book, when I wanted to hate it. It ticks me off that he writes a book about writing the books he has written! Seems ridiculous that anyone should get paid for that. I'm even more ticked off that it was really good.

Parts of it are sure to seem long, when it's not about your sport or players you know; but it's a fairly quick reading book. The one thing that did annoy me was he jumps back and forth between years and stories and sometimes I couldn't remember
Henry Singer
Dec 10, 2012 Henry Singer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-quarter
John Feinstein has seen it all in the sporting world. He has covered every major sports. On top of reporting for newspapers magazines, and T.V. networks, he has written numerous successful books. One on One chronicles John's life in sports. John talks about his books, and great experiences in sports that he didn't write about. The book really gives an insight on what life is behind the scenes. You ever want to have a locker room pass. Well Feinstein has one of those every single day. Also, to to ...more
R.J. Murphy
Nov 13, 2011 R.J. Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Goodreads for this book won truh your giveaways. This is the story of how a sports reporter does his job. Mr. Feinstein explains how he started in the business and how that business took him around the world to cover top U.S. athletes. He explains how he began writing best selling books and how he chose the subjects of his books. Anyone who has read his work will enjoy this book. Want-to-be sports writers will appreciate this book, as will anyone who has closely followed sports in the ...more
Jan 04, 2012 Darcy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sports fanatic, and I had read positive reviews on this one. I admit that I wasn't familiar with Feinstein's work, and that's why I felt at times as though I was slogging through the pages. I enjoyed reading about Bobby Knight and the college basketball, but most of the stuff about golf and tennis didn't interest me. And I felt like Feinstein didn't know how to end the book. Basically he wanted to go behind the scenes on the 10+ books he had written and told stories about the people. I was ...more
Shannon Lovejoy
I received this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I thought it would be the type of book where each chapter is a feel good story about a different sports hero. It wasn't. It is so much better than that. Feinstein will make you feel as if he is telling you the stories himself...he is that talented. I am not a fan of any of the teams he talks about in this book but I want to read more of what he has written because of how he writes. I recommend this book to sports fans and no ...more
John Curd
About 1/3rd through the book at this time. So far it's all about "How I wrote a book about Bobby Knight during one season of Indiana basketball". Hoping that eventually the book will be about what the fly leaf states. If they'd only called this book a memoir, I'd understand how it's been formatted. Anyway, once John Feinstein gets past writing about himself, there are some good stories about the athletes he's interacted with through the years and I enjoyed reading about them.
Feb 22, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Good Reads First Reads.

I really enjoyed this book. It's not at all the type of book I thought I would enjoy. While I enjoy sports, I've never read much sports writing. But I do love a good story, and John Feinstein knows how to tell them. I particularly liked the parts of this book about college basketball, which is really where Mr. Feinstein got his start, with A Season on the Brink.
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John Feinstein is one of the nation’s most successful and prolific sports authors who has written 24 books to date. His most recent work Are You Kidding Me? , written with Rocco Mediate, was released on May 18, 2009, and is presently on the shelf at bookstores everywhere. In addition, he is an award-winning columnist and regular contributor in both radio and television.

John Feinstein is a 1977 gr
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